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Behind the Scenes - Iron Stomach V

Updated: Feb 5

Iron Stomach isn’t so much about the food, but more a state of mind.

It wouldn’t be a TET Festival without at least ONE of our iconic competitions coming back to haunt dreams and inspire others’ nightmares. What better one to bring back than the iconic Iron Stomach competition, which started 5 years ago, as a brainchild between the brothers that were organising the event.

For our fifth anniversary organising the Iron Stomach actually proved to be highly difficult, with a lot of logistical and organisational issues that plagued the production. Firstly, it was a struggle to find participants for the competition, as usually we rely on festival attendees to go on a whim. Secondly, we had to find a way to up the ante from last year, as this is the 5th anniversary of the event.

The final issue happened all on the day, where miscommunication led to many of the contestants unable to make it, and our usual host being unable to attend.

Flying by the seats of our pants, the team was forced to adopt the iconic U.S. Marine mantra of “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” and as such several of the team bit the bullet and volunteered themselves into the event.

What followed was tragic for all involved and admittedly another highly amusing and entertaining episode of Iron Stomach for all the wrong reasons.

But then that is what makes Iron Stomach such compelling viewing.

Iron Stomach still excites me every year I get involved. It is such a disgusting, fun and hilarious experience for everyone involved. I’ve seen people recoil in horror, gasp for breath and applaud loudly in honour of a stranger’s courage. It truly unites everyone together, because EVERYONE has tried something so disgusting they’ve felt like vomiting.

South East Asian cuisine just happens to have a myriad of sauces and juices that are ripe for mixing into something truly horrific. While it takes a skilled chef hours to bring out the flavours, it takes a maniac only seconds to make it truly indigestible.

The spicy round though, is always a hit. We have to credit the smash internet show, HOT ONES for inspiring us to find the hottest sauces available in Melbourne. Trinidad Scorpions and Blair’s 3AM Extract will always find a way to knock down the most cocky competitors.

As always, I hope everyone enjoyed watching this competition and hope to see you all next year for a live event! - Damien.

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